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Top 200 Players - Preseason 1 to 50
Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 27, 2006


Top 200 Players The nation's best players going into the season - 1 to 50  

Players 51 to 200

50. LB Buster Davis, Sr. Florida State

Strong enough to play in the middle and fast enough to start on the weakside, Davis is one of the team's most experienced players and will move around where needed in the linebacking corps. He hasn't received anywhere near the acclaim of other Seminole linebackers, but he has been just as productive as the other stars over the last few seasons with 141 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. He's a fierce tackler who'll be the intimidator of the D.

49. S Eric Weddle, Sr. Utah
One of the nation's best defensive backs, Weddle has 213 career tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and nine sacks to go along with a boatload of big plays against the pass. He's a phenomenal all-around athlete who has seen time almost everywhere throughout his career from safety to cornerback to quarterback to punter to punt returner. A more natural corner who helped erase Georgia Tech star receiver Calvin Johnson from the gameplan in the Emerald Bowl, he'll start out at strong safety.

48. LB Sam Olajabutu, Sr. Arkansas
While he's not big at an undersized 5-9 and 229 pounds, he has unlimited range and is a sure-thing open field tackler and pass rusher. He's a teeth-rattling hitter who plays with an attitude because of his size. Driven to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, he should be a certain all-star again if he can stay healthy.

47. PK/P Mason Crosby, Sr. Colorado
Crosby has one of the biggest legs in college football blasting 13 of 19 field goals from beyond 40 yards with a 58-yard bomb last season. He's an All-American who's not just a bomber, he's also clutch. Dan Hawkins has already said he'll allow Crosby to try a 70-yard shot this season. Crosby will also take over the punting duties from John Torp, who was one of the best in the nation averaging 44.6 yards per kick.

46. OG Josh Beekman, Sr. Boston College
Able to potentially end up at center, the 325-pound senior will likely start out at right guard. He's good enough to earn all-star honors at either position with great athleticism and tackle-like pass protection skills.

45. OT Sam Baker, Sr. USC
Baker has been the team's most consistent linemen over the last few seasons and should be even better now that he's up to 305 pounds. He's strong enough to play guard if needed, but he's too good a pass protector and too athletic not to be put at left tackle.

44. TE Zach Miller, Jr. Arizona State
One of the nation's best tight ends, the 6-5, 258-pound junior is a Todd Heap clone who'll set every record for ASU tight ends before his time is done. He gets the headlines for his receiving skills, but he's one of the nation's best blocking tight ends and a possible top 15 pick if he chooses to come out next season. He makes plays like a wide receiver with soft, reliable hands.

43. RB Jamaal Charles, Soph. Texas
Overlooked a bit nationally because he played in the same backfield as Vince Young, Charles had an All-America caliber season as one of the nation's most effective backs over the first half of the year. While tall and thin at 6-1 and 190 pounds, he can pack a little bit of a punch around the goal line and is a bolt of lightning in the open (he ran the fastest 110 meter hurdle time in the nation as a high school senior tearing off a 13.69). Even if he doesn't win the starting job, he'll be an often used number two back getting more than ten carries a game.

42. WR Jeff Samardzija, Sr. Notre Dame
A decent target over his first two seasons, Samardzija exploded into an All-American leading the Irish in receiving as Brady Quinn's top target. He was unstoppable up until the Fiesta Bowl with six 100-yard days and touchdown catches in every game but two: the loss to Ohio State and the win over Navy. The 6-5, 220-pound senior has grown into a first round pro prospect with great speed to go along with reliable hands. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs, he'll also look into trying to become a two-sport athlete at the next level.

41. CB Tarell Brown, Sr. Texas
Arguably the best unsung cornerback in the Big 12, Brown has 24 career starts as one of the team's top cover-corner over the last few seasons. He saved his best game for last cranking out ten tackles against USC showing off the hitting ability that could eventually make him an NFL safety.

40. WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr., Jr. Ohio State
What was wrong with Ted Ginn? That was the cry early last year when one of college football's top all-around players failed to make any top all-around plays. As it turned out, he just needed a little time to breakout, and then he showed off his skills tearing off some big punt returns and growing into a dangerous receiver finishing off with an eight-catch, 167-yard, one touchdown day against Notre Dame. The light has appeared to go on and he should be the All-America, number one target he was expected to blossom into last season.

39. CB Leon Hall, Sr. Michigan
Hall always had the potential to be a star, but he didn't put it all together until last year when he was one of the Big Ten's best all-around defensive backs. While he's not huge at 5-11 and 193 pounds, he has decent size to go along with his 4.42 speed. He led the team in interceptions and turned into a safety-like tackler finishing fourth on the team. Expect him to be the team's number one cover corner and in the hunt for the Thorpe Award if he has another season like last year.

38. DE Victor Abiamiri, Sr. Notre Dame
Abiamiri did a great job of taking over for Justin Tuck turning into the team's best pass rusher. Now he has to be more consistent and use his experience to be a game-in-and-game-out dominator once he returns from a knee surgery that limited him at times this spring. He was decent all season with his stats pumped up by a ten tackle, four sack performance against Stanford, and now he appears on the verge of exploding after being the focus of the coaching staff all off-season. 15 sacks won't be out of the question.

37. RB Garrett Wolfe, Sr. Northern Illinois
The diminutive 5-7, 173-pound senior is quick enough to zip around defenders and strong enough to power his way over bigger ones. He's one of the strongest pound for pound players in the game to go along with phenomenal instincts and a burst of speed when he gets into the clear; he's simply one of the game's most dynamic backs. What gets lost is his workhorse ability. He carried the ball 107 times over the final three games of the year, including the MAC title game against Akron, for 724 yards and nine touchdowns. Had he not suffered a knee injury midway through the season forcing him to miss three games, he likely would've been a lock for 2,000 yards and well over 20 touchdowns. While not used all that often as a receiver, he has nice hands.

36. DE Mkristo Bruce, Sr.  Washington State
One of the nation's top all-around ends, the 6-6, 250-pound senior can do it all. He's an unstoppable pass rusher when he sees one-on-one blocking, but he's also solid against the run finishing fourth on the team in tackles. There are few better at getting around the corner and closing on the quarterback.

35. WR Davone Bess, Soph. Hawaii
UH head coach June Jones has gone as far as to call Bess the best receiver he has ever coached. Remember, Jones coached in the NFL. Bess spent his senior year in high school as a quarterback, sat out the 2004 season, and then ripped it up as a true freshman with seven 100-yard games highlighted by a two game stretch against Fresno State and Nevada when he caught 26 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns. He's as tough as they come with phenomenal hands and great concentration around the goal line.

34. DE Dan Bazuin, Sr., Central Michigan
The best defensive player in the MAC last season, the 6-3, 269-pound senior is a pass rushing terror leading the nation in tackles for loss while finishing second on the team in tackles. He's a big run stopper and impossible to stop once he gets off the line. He bulked up enough to start to attract the NFL scouts and become an early round pick.

33. DT Marcus Thomas, Sr. Florida
The Honorable Mention All-SEC performer flirted with the idea of turning pro early before deciding to come back. A likely early first day draft pick last year, the 290-pound senior can up his stock with a big season and showing off even more as an interior pass rusher. He's the leader in the middle and should be even stronger against the run with the improvement of the rest of the line around him.

32. CB DeAndre Jackson, Sr. Iowa State
One of the best defensive backs in the Big 12, the 6-0, 192-pound senior hits like a safety and covers like a corner. He'll get beat taking a lot of chances, but it's worth it with all the big plays he makes both against the run and when the ball is in the air. He's just a tremendous all-around playmaker.

31. LB Rufus Alexander, Sr., Oklahoma
One of the nation's best linebackers, Alexander returns after making 176 tackles over the last two seasons and leading the Sooners last year. He's big on the weakside with fantastic speed and instincts able to get into the backfield. He got bigger over the last two years and became even better against the run.

30. DT Quinn Pitcock, Sr. Ohio State
One of only two returning starters on the Buckeye D, Pitcock should be one of the Big Ten's best defenders and an All-America candidate. He has the speed to be a dangerous end, but at 6-3, 295 pounds he's a true tackle. While he's not flashy and he isn't going to get his name called a lot, he'll require two blockers on every down.

29. QB Brian Brohm, Jr. Louisville
Would Brohm have been a first round draft pick if he could’ve come out this year? Probably. The 6-4, 224-pound junior is coming off an torn ACL that cost him the last two games of the season, but that didn't stop him from being the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He has the arm, the smarts, and the touch to be a next-level star. Now he has to prove he can be the type of quarterback who can carry his team to a conference title. He's not a runner, but he can move a little bit with good touch when on the move. The key to his game is accuracy. When he gets into a groove, it's over. Just ask Oregon State who got tagged for an 18 of 22, 368-yard, five touchdown game.

28. CB Antoine Cason, Jr. Arizona
One of the Pac 10's best all-around defenders, Cason has made 120 tackles and picked off seven interceptions in his first two seasons. He's a fantastic open-field, safety-like tackler with more than enough speed to make big plays all over the field and be a lockdown, number one corner getting the start again on the strongside.

27. RB Marshawn Lynch, Jr. California
It should say how much is expected out of Lynch that he had a slightly disappointing season and still cranked out 1,246 yards, ten touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry despite missing time and having a few problems with a hand injury. He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball with the size at 223 pounds to power for tough yards. If he can stay healthy he's a Heisman candidate and a legitimate threat to crank out 2,000 yards.

26. OT Justin Blalock, Sr. Texas
If he's not the nation's best offensive lineman, he's not far off. A rock at right tackle over the last three seasons, the 6-4, 335-pound senior could play guard if needed but will make millions as a top 15 draft pick next season on the outside. The 2005 CFN First-Team All-American should've/could've left early and have been a first round selection this season after a brilliant junior year.

25. S Michael Griffin, Sr. Texas
238 career tackles isn't bad for a former running back. Michael Huff won the Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back last season, but it could be argued that Griffin had the better year. He's one of the nation's best defensive backs with next level playmaking ability and unlimited range. He's a master at blocking punts and is great at forcing turnovers. A sure tackler, he came up with 23 stops against Texas A&M and 14 against Baylor.

24. RB Kenny Irons, Sr. Auburn
The South Carolina transfer ripped it up in spring practice of 2005, but didn't get into the mix until the third game of the season when he tore off 147 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Ball State on just 11 carries. He then went on to be one of the SEC's best players with eight 100-yard days showing off tremendous home-run hitting speed highlighted by a brilliant 218-yard day in the loss to LSU. He's not necessarily a power runner, but he's physical and doesn't go down easily. When he has a sliver of daylight, he'll tear off a huge gain. 

23. DT Brandon Mebane, Sr. California
One of the nation's best tackles returns for what should be an All-Pac 10 season with a few All-America honors. He's a defensive end built into the 6-3, 306-pound body with tremendous quickness into the backfield. He was one of the league's top linemen last year even though he suffered through an ankle injury and constant double teaming.

22. RB Michael Bush, Sr. Louisville
Back for what seems like his 13th year in a Cardinal uniform, Bush passed up the chance to be a mid-round NFL draft pick to be on the short list of the nation's top college running backs. He's a freak of nature with good speed and phenomenal power in a 6-3, 250-pound frame. A scoring machine with 38 career touchdowns including 24 last season, he can even play a little quarterback on a halfback option using his skills honed as one of the nation's best high school passers. He also has good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. Staying healthy will be his key thanks to a pounding style that opens him up for some huge shots.

21. CB Fred Bennett, Sr. South Carolina
At 6-1 and 199 pounds with lights-out speed, Bennett will emerge as one of the SEC's best corners this year and is the next top NFL prospect from the USC defensive backfield. He has been steady over the last two seasons with good open-field tackling ability, seven interceptions and 13 broken up passes. 

20. QB Drew Tate, Sr. Iowa
Tate cut down on his interceptions and improved his decision making by leaps and bounds from his sophomore year, and now he appears ready to make the jump to All-America status as a senior. He got better as last season went on finishing up by throwing for 351 yards and four touchdowns against Minnesota and 346 yards and three scores in the loss to Florida. He's a tough, gritty player who isn't afraid to throw his body around to try to get the tough yards, and he's great in the system. He should be among the nation's most efficient passers and on the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year short list.

19. WR Jason Hill, Sr. Washington State
In one of the biggest surprises in college football this off-season, the fringe All-America candidate decided to return for his senior season when he could've been a first day draft pick. He's has the size at 6-2 and 208 pounds and the deep speed to be this year's star you need to watch. Not just flashy, he's consistent and clutch. Of course, his big performances are what get him noticed with a 240-yard, three touchdown day against Cal and a 190-yard, one score performance against Oregon State. He has only gone six games over the last two seasons without a touchdown.

18. CB Daymeion Hughes, Sr. California
The first-team All-Pac 10 star of last year should be an All-American this season. He's an experienced defender with 118 tackles and seven career interceptions, and he put it all together with a fantastic 2005 turning into the lock-down corner the defense was looking for. At 6-2 and 188 pounds he's a great-sized corner with the speed to stay with just about any receiver in the conference.

17. S Brandon Meriweather, Sr. Miami
Meriweather is a big enough hitter to play strong safety and fast enough to be a major playmaker at free safety. He's one of the team's most experienced players with 40 career games of experience and 202 tackles, and now he should be on everyone's All-America list with the range to be a major factor against the pass and the speed to be a disruptive force in the backfield.

16. RB Steve Slaton, Soph. West Virginia
Easily the shocker of the 2005 season, the new West Virginia rushing star was supposed to be top recruit Jason Gwaltney. That changed in a hurry as Slaton took over in the third game of the year and was unstoppable the rest of the way averaging 136 yards per game after seeing time against Virginia Tech. He got on the national map with a five touchdown game in the win over Louisville, but it was his 204-yard, three touchdown Sugar Bowl against Georgia that got everyone talking. He runs far harder than his 5-10, 190-pound size, and there are few better home run hitters.

15. WR Calvin Johnson, Jr. Georgia Tech
While his numbers slipped after a record-setting freshman season, the 6-4, 235-pound Johnson became a more complete receiver and stopped relying solely on his ridiculous talents to get by. He figured out how to be more physical and use his strength and size more to his advantage and showed better route running ability. Now he has to be an even more polished route runner and do a better job of being open despite being the focus of every defensive gameplan. If he's the be-all-end-all pro prospect he's supposed to be, he has be a 7-10 catch per game receiver no matter what.

14. WR Sidney Rice, Soph. South Carolina
The 6-3, 200-pound sophomore still needs some polish, but he's still one of the nation's top receivers and a top-flight pro prospect. He missed the opener with a broken finger, and then blew up as the team's main weapon with five 100-yard games in his final six highlighted by a brilliant 12-catch, 191-yard, one touchdown performance in the Independence Bowl loss to Missouri. The only question is his durability suffering a knee injury in 2004, the broken finger last year, and a thumb injury this season that kept him out of spring ball. 

13. DE Adam Carriker, Sr., Nebraska
After an average 2004 thanks to an ankle injury, the 6-6, 294-pound Carriker blossomed into an unstoppable pass rushing force. He wasn't just great at getting to the quarterback, he was rock-solid against the run and made play after player when he wasn't double teamed. He's looking stronger and quicker this season and should be in the mix for All-America honors.

12. S LaRon Landry, Sr. LSU
One of the nation's best free safeties and a sure early round draft pick next year, he has the 6-2, 204 size, the 4.4 speed, and the résumé with 241 career tackles. He's a proven playmaker against the pass and a light-him-up highlight reel hitter. It'll be a shock if he's not an All-American and in the hunt for SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

11. DE Lawrence Jackson, Jr. USC
The star of the Trojan line, Jackson became a pass rushing terror last year with too much quickness for most tackles and enough size and strength to handle himself against the maulers. He has the speed of a linebacker in a 6-5, 265-pound frame. Expect All-America honors.

10. LB Paul Posluszny, Sr. Penn State
The Butkus Award winner as the nation's best linebacker last season, Posluszny has 256 career tackles and should finish his great career with well over 350 if he can return 100% from a knee injury (as expected) suffered in the Orange Bowl. Considered a likely first round draft pick had he come out early, even with the knee injury, he's a smart, tough tackler who's always in the right position and is always around the ball. He had 22 stops against Northwestern and 14 in the huge win over Ohio State.

9. LB Patrick Willis, Sr. Ole Miss
One of the nation's best defensive players, Willis will no longer be the hidden gem that only SEC fans know about. He's a fast 6-2 and 230 pounds who was good enough to have been no worse than a second round NFL draft pick had he decided to leave early after dominating last season with five games of double-digit solo tackles (leading the nation in solo stops) and with double-digit stops in every game he was healthy except one; he made nine stops against Arkansas. Not just a run stopper, he has the range to be adequate in pass coverage to go along with the timing to be a solid pass rusher. He was out this spring recovering from surgery on his foot, but he's expected to be more than fine by the time fall practices start.

8. QB Drew Stanton, Sr. Michigan State
The only possible knock is that he tries too hard. Other than that, he should grow into a top ten pro prospect if he has a huge senior season. Arguably the best quarterback in college football over the first four games of last year after starting out throwing 13 touchdown passes, he cooled off big time having problems with interceptions when he tried to carry the inconsistent offense. When he's on, there are few better and with his combination of 6-3, 230-pound size, accuracy, running skills, and experience, he's the total package. If he can stay healthy, this should be the year he puts it all together and becomes an All-American.

7. DE Gaines Adams, Sr. Clemson
He should probably be off to the NFL. The starter at the Bandit end plays a little bit of defensive end and a little bit of linebacker with the size at 265 pounds to be a top run stopper and the speed and quickness to be a great pass defender. He does a little of everything very well with a great talent for getting into the backfield on a regular basis. 

6. WR Dwayne Jarrett, Jr. USC
Jarrett spent his freshman season being compared to Mike Williams, and then had scouts thinking he's even better than the current Detroit Lion after a brilliant sophomore season showing off hands, the ability to make the acrobatic grab, and consistency. He had the full trust of Matt Leinart to be the go-to, crunch time receiver coming through with big play after big play leading the team with 31 more catches than the number two receiver, Steve Smith. He has caught passes for 75 yards or more in 15 of the 26 games he has played in with a whopping 29 touchdowns in two years.

5. OT Joe Thomas, Sr. Wisconsin
The former defensive end and tight end has grown into a top pro prospect. Used as a part-time defensive lineman in the Capital One Bowl win over Auburn, he tore up his ACL killing and possibility of leaving school a year early. The 6-8, 306-pound senior is expected to be back at almost as good as new early this fall.

4. QB Troy Smith, Sr. Ohio State
Could Smith be this year's version of Vince Young and be a do-it-all star who carries his team to a title? After being suspended for the season opener and coming off the bench for the Texas game, he took over and was fantastic showing off an accurate arm along with tremendous rushing skills. He's not a bomber, but he's a great decision maker who's great at making big plays and is icy cool in the clutch. A perfect fit for the read-option offense, he'll be a statistical machine who could be a front-runner for the Heisman if he can pull off a win at Texas.

3. QB Brady Quinn, Sr. Notre Dame
Could Quinn handle the pressure of the big Charlie Weis playbook and succeed in the new offense? Uh, yeah. A nice prospect with a live arm, good size and decent mobility, Quinn entered the rarefied air of being considered a number one overall caliber pro prospect after cranking out the best passing season in Notre Dame history on his way to finishing fourth in the Heisman race. Under Weis he proved he could be a sharp decision maker as well as be able to make all the throws. Just as important was his ability to rally the team and get the offense moving when he had to. Notre Dame might have lost to USC, but Quinn's stock went through the roof after leading the offense on a late drive to take the lead. He became the front-runner for the 2006 Heisman race after throwing for 432 yards in the comeback win over Stanford.

2. DE Quentin Moses, Sr. Georgia
The hope was for Moses to go from being a solid situational pass rusher to an All-SEC terror. 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss later, he's going to be on the short list of All-America ends and the leader of the potentially great Dawg line. He's not huge at 250 pounds and he's not the best run stopper, but there are few better at consistently getting to the quarterback. He's also smart being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll over the last few years.

1. RB Adrian Peterson, Jr. Oklahoma
The best player in college football and the likely number one pick in the draft if/when he decides to come out next season, the franchise back has to stay healthy for a full season. He had problems with an ankle injury during the middle part of last year carrying it a mere 16 times over a four-game span, and then got healthy and ripped up the back half of the season with four straight 100-yard days highlighted by a breathtaking 237-yard performance against Oklahoma State. He's a tremendous mix of 6-2 size, warp speed, and a warrior's mentality. His running style is a bit too upright and he takes a few too many big shots, but that's nitpicking for the NFL types to worry about. Expect him to be used more in the passing game this year.